The leaders of the 12 Lake District Mountain Rescue teams are pleading with people to stay off the fells so that the volunteer rescuers are not put at increased risk of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The statement released by the teams’ umbrella body the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association says: “We are a dedicated group of over 400 volunteers who have been through some tough rescues and major incidents in our time together. We’ve always been there for you.
“However, we find ourselves in a unique situation and needing to focus on our families and our work right now. We must also fully support our NHS colleagues who are under pressure already – many of whom are team members in the Lakes.
“We accept that some of you may consider this to be an over-reaction. It is not. For over sixty years we have supported you to enjoy the mountains in every weather. For the foreseeable future we simply need you to return the favour. Please do not come to the mountains. Spread the word as far as you can.”
Meanwhile, the Mountain Bothies Association has closed all 105 bothies and two emergency shelters it maintains across northern England, Scotland and Wales in line with Government and medical advice about social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The association has also cancelled all meetings and work parties.